Tuesday, March 12, 2019

A to Z: Gardening Vocabulary for Beginners

Photo courtesy Donna Duffy
New to gardening? Here’s a cheat sheet of definitions to help you understand what those experienced gardeners are talking about!

Annual: a plant that grows, flowers and produces seed all in one season, and does not survive the winter.

Biennial: a plant that completes its life cycle in 2 years.

Compost: the decomposition of plants and other formerly living materials into a soil-like substance that is high in organic matter and can improve almost any soil.

Dead head: to remove old, spent blooms and seed heads from a plant to encourage reblooming.

Exposure: the optimum amount of sun or shade that a plant needs to thrive.

Full sun: 6 or more hours of direct sun a day.

Germinate: the beginning of growth in a seed; to sprout.

Harden off: a process whereby a plant is gradually introduced to cold temperatures giving it a chance to build cold tolerance; usually used to acclimate greenhouse plants to colder outdoor temperatures in the spring.

Iron chlorosis: yellowing caused by iron deficiency in leaf tissues.

Joy: a feeling of euphoria often experienced while walking through a garden.

Key:  a list of questions or statements about a plant characteristic used for plant identification.

Loam: soil with a specific combination of sand, silt, and clay sized particles.

Microclimate: a spot in the landscape that differs from the general environment (e.g., warmer, wetter, more sheltered).

N-P-K: ratio of Nitrogen to Phosphorous to Potassium in a fertilizer.

Ornamental: plants grown for aesthetics, not consumption or economic use.

Perennial: plants that live for multiple growing seasons.

Quiescence: winter quiescence is a state in which tree roots are in a resting phase with essential life processes continuing at a minimal rate. 

Root bound: a plant that has been in a pot so long that the roots circle around the inside of the pot.

Saturation: when the entire root zone of a plant is moist after watering.

Transplant: to remove plants from one place and plant them in another.

Upright: a plant that is taller than wide.

Vermiculite: a lightweight soil amendment intended to improve root growth due to aeration and moisture retention.

Waterlogged: Soil that is saturated with water.

Xeriscape: a landscape style that incorporates drought-resistant plants to conserve water.

Yahoo: a loud, joyful shout indicating gardening success where it was in doubt.

Zeroscape: this is not a gardening term! Often used incorrectly for xeriscape.